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Ancient Maya Agricultural Techniques: Investigations of Possible Terracing at the Site of Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): Theresa Heindel

Year: 2017

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Summary

Recent studies on ancient Maya agriculture address differences in farming methods used within the Maya area, and the implications these differences have for larger issues within Maya studies. Excavations conducted during the Actuncan Archaeological Project 2015/2016 field seasons examined GPR anomalies in the Northern Neighborhood region of the Actuncan, Belize site; the proposed poster will discuss evidence of terracing obtained from these excavations, including how these probable terraces were built, their arrangement within the larger landscape, and their possible role in water drainage and agricultural production. Excavations revealed multiple possible terracing and water drainage systems, including: 1) terraforming to create berms made of yeso, a soil comprised of gypsum; 2) a traditional stone terrace made of limestone and chert cobbles with domestic fill on its western side, reinforcing the terrace from water draining downslope; and 3) short, plastered, sloping walls that appear heavily eroded by water drainage and may have provided water drain channels. These systems may reflect the different ways in which the ancient Maya at Actuncan managed water and agricultural production, as well as address larger issues regarding site spatial distribution and the role of state institutions in the creation and maintenance of agricultural production and landholding.


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Ancient Maya Agricultural Techniques: Investigations of Possible Terracing at the Site of Actuncan, Belize. Theresa Heindel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429538)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16577

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America